You all bring up interesting points, but none of them actually are based on anything more than your feelings … possibly feelings that religion is true, possibly just a feeling that denying religion is true is rude. So first I'll clarify myself:
Religion is fine, but will always lack proof. It is based on the unexplained, not upon the real and studied. Sure, some religions are less strict than others, but at some point they require a suspension of disbelief that comes with assuming that if you don't know something that's where God is.
Jesuits are much less strict than say evangelical Christians, but ultimately their belief system is based on an unprovable entity.
Anyway…to the comments…
You assume that all religious and supernatural beliefs are formed through superstition and connect the dots (to the “wrong” conclusion) mentality, not only implying that all religious people are superstitious but that all religious people are in essence, unable to think rationally and analyze. That is clearly a great example of faulty logic with pre-set conclusions justified with your opinion, but it is not backed up by fact or by even a scientific poll. You just jumped to that conclusion and say because you are rational, it is so.
Not always unable to think rationally and analyze, often unwilling to. But you are correct, this is my opinion and the only way to prove it would be to disprove that every conclusion religions come to has a more rational answer. But then the whole point of scientific analysis is backwards. I don't have to disprove God any more than I do unicorns … and I would not be able to do either. There's a very improbable chance that I'm wrong about God (or unicorns), but that doesn't mean I have to prove anything.
The fact that little ol' me is able to analyze your thought processes and draw a different conclusion based on the available evidence (your post), then I think that clearly shows that I, a Christian, cannot be so easily swayed by connect the dots and that I have the ability to analyze rationally. I just don't agree with you. It took a LOT to persuade me to become a Christian, over months. And a lot has helped to continue to justify my belief in the God I know exists. I don't expect you to believe me, but you really have no right to speak for me.
Again, I'm not offended. Analyzing these thought processes is interesting…
My post is in no way evidence of anything, it's just my opinion. I don't think it even passes muster as a theory (but I'm certainly not the first to pose it).
But here's the skinny: You can't even allow for the possibility that I even have a toehold on possibly being right. No religious person can. They all live within the confines of their perceptions. Somehow, they come to the conclusion that they - and those who follow their faiths in similar fashion - have the answers to unknowable things.
You, on the other hand, malign those who find Jesus in their toast. That's interesting, because just like against atheism, you are against their faith. It doesn't measure up to your standards, or it flies in the face of your belief system. Therefore it's ridiculous.
But why? Surely God COULD put faces in food, right?
hmm, that's a step too far for me. The fact that humans tend to find order in chaos (even if the order is not there) is not a reason to say that “actual proof of God is impossible.”
My opinion is that God is only the impossible, therefore He is unprovable. God is, in essence, science proofed.
I do not follow your reasoning at all. For all you and I know, we will discover tomorrow that the galaxic superclusters are arranged to spell out “I AM” in ancient hebrew. That will settle the issue for me, I promise you.
Not me. When you consider that it is still possible that an arrangement like that is within the realm of possibility and coincidence, I would require more. A God who just leaves a note like that is still just Jesus in toast.
Also, I want to step in and say that many organized religions have been very kind to rational thought. You have not hung out with many Jesuits, have you? I do not think it is essentially irrational to believe in God. If you have had a personal experience of God that seemed very convincing, than it is quite rational to follow where that leads (just as it is rational for me, who has not had such an experience, to discount it).
My assertion is that ultimately none of our belief systems are based on rationality, but a mix between experience, knowledge and whatever we use to fill in the gaps. I do think those who have personal experience of something they decide to call God is because it's either something they really need, or a jump to a conclusion that is not analyzed rationally. Along the lines for my reasons for liking chocolate ice cream - but stronger.
However, I do not think it is fair (or helpful) to lump all religious people and all religions in with them. Most of the religious people I have met are perfectly good at rational thought, and approach their religious beliefs in mostly rational ways - and what human can say they are always rational?
None. But what amazes me is that they can be VERY rational about other religions - scientology or mormonism for example - and still not examine the basis of their own beliefs in the same manner. Why can they malign “Jesus on Toast” and extoll “There Are Things Man Was Not Meant To Know”?
Also - I think it is only fair to note that all manner of organizations, as they grow, tend to shism much more than they recombine. Lesbian activist groups do this, for instance, and so do Science Fiction Fandom groups and Role Playing Groups (I'm just mentioning ones I have personal knowledge of here).
Since all the groups you mention are based on personal beliefs - or how people prefer to be treated - I completely agree with you. This is the realm of unprovable feelings and beliefs. Analysis and rational study of them will not explain why some like Star Wars over Star Trek. It also has no use in the preferred methods for furthering the lesbian cause, since the goals are highly personal.
But you don't see the same type of schism in the sciences. Not for very long anyway. A branch of science will arise, some scientists will study it and if they conclusively prove their findings it will eventually be welcomed into mainstream scientific study. If it is unprovable, or if it is disproven, it will disappear.
But other than those points I totally agree with you, so you are not a Nazi.
That's the sweetest thing anyone on this board has said to me. :)
To me, however, the whole notion that God is unprovable is something I can't agree with. If something exists, it should be measurable at some point. Maybe we don't have the right instruments, maybe we don't even know what to look for right now, but at some level, anything that physically exists and/or physically interacts with our universe should be detectable in some way now or in the future. Whether we're talking about proving the color blue exists, that emotions exist, that someone loves someone else, there should be SOME way to detect it.
If there's a God then, by your definition, then no one has proven it. Which only reinforces my assertion that religions are essentially designed around a God that can't be studied in any rational manner.
The God you are saying could possibly maybe exist isn't a God that any existant religion has found, but rather the one that science may someday find.
Maybe it's not conclusive (is that rush of hormones when you're near someone love, a sickness, or some other emotion?), and maybe we don't have the ability or current understanding to find it (just as ancient people did not have instruments to actually find atoms, although the idea was proposed). But if it physically exists, it should be detectable and ultimately proveable. If it's impossible to detect, or if it doesn't physically exist, then what does the word “exist” mean?
More accurately, if it isn't detectable and has no physical form, why would that make it God? God is supposed to have noticeable impact upon the world, or else he's nothing.
As for love, more things are being found out about it all the time. But it does rationally make sense for a species that is as cerebral as us would have to have a mental connection that is enjoyable when finding a partner. There is also a sensory component that we're only beginning to understand. All of it is almost certainly explicable in evolutionary terms.
Religion has an explicable evolutionary cause as well. It's rooted in tribalism and in the need to fill in the gaps of our knowledge with something that makes sense to us. It helps to differentiate between us and them. It enforces rules of societal behavior. It is a useful tool.
I do get it, by the way. I know my way of looking at the world is not significantly more rational than many other perspectives.
But I can't shake it: To me Religion is immune from science because it's a fixed game. They make the rules, so they can prevent it from ever being analyzed. God is unprovable because that's how he is envisioned by those who believe in Him. The miracles are safely locked away in anecdotal historical accounts, contact with Him is entirely limited to the mind of the individual.
You can't prove it because it's anti-science. I don't mean against it, I mean it's the opposite of it.